Lead Acid vs. Lithium Car Battery: What’s the Difference?

Person Checking a Car's Battery

Would you agree that the battery in your vehicle is a very important part? More than likely you answered yes to our question. If you are looking for ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle you might want to look into changing over to a lithium car battery or buying a newer vehicle that comes equipped with a lithium battery

Keep reading to see the difference and learn more about lithium batteries vs alkaline.

Lead Acid Batteries

Let’s first talk about the batteries that have been the go-to for over 150 years. Lead acid batteries are heavy and they have an acid base. One of the cons that comes with lead acid batteries is that they have a limited cycle life. 

Even if you are easy on your car battery eventually the battery will die. Typically lead acid batteries are good for 500-1000 cycles. Depending on how much you use your vehicle you can be replacing your battery every two years or less. 

Another con is that lead acid batteries have slow and inefficient charging. These batteries can’t be charged “fast” when they reach the final 20% of their capacity. The first 80% can be “bulk charged” by a smart three-stage charger quickly as needed but that final percentage will take a lot longer. 

Lead acid batteries are much more affordable upfront when compared to a lithium battery but over time they will have to be replaced more often. In the long run, they end up costing more money when you add up all the replacements. 


Lead acid batteries are a mixture of sulfuric acid and lead plates. This is why when a lead acid battery goes bad you might smell a rotten egg type of smell. If you ever experience this make sure you get rid of the battery ASAP because it can explode and cause a tragic accident. 

Lithium Batteries

Now let’s go into more details about lithium batteries. Lithium batteries in case you did not notice have become a very essential part of our everyday lives. They are known for their light weight and how powerful they are. Their weight definitely does not define their power. 

Typically they weigh less than one-third of a lead acid battery and they provide up to 50% more energy along with more power. Because they offer really low resistance they are able to charge much faster than traditional lead acid batteries. 

Another benefit of lithium batteries is how long their life span is. They cycle 5,000+ times vs up to 1,000 cycles (on a high-end lead acid battery). Lithium batteries are able to hold their charge much better than lead-acid. 

They only lose around 5% of their charge each month vs losing 20% per month with lead acid batteries. 

This is why lithium batteries are being used a lot in low speed vehicles and golf carts. They are so much lighter and much more efficient and reliable. You can read on here more about how great they are for your low speed vehicles (LSV).


Lithium battery electrodes are made of lightweight carbon and lithium. This is why these batteries are much lighter than traditional lead acid batteries. 

If you like to help take care of the environment then it is good to note that lithium batteries are a much cleaner technology making them safer for the environment. 

Inside a Lithium Battery Pack

To get a better understanding of lithium we are going to go over what they look like inside. The cells inside a lithium battery pack can either be square or rectangular or cylindrical. 

There is a temperature sensor that monitors the temperature of the battery to help you make sure that it does not get too hot. There is also a voltage tap on the pack that monitors the energy capacity of individual cells in the battery pack. 

These battery packs also have a voltage converter and a regulator circuit to help maintain safe levels of current and safe levels of voltage. 

Lithium Cons

While there are plenty of benefits of opting for lithium batteries there are also some cons. One disadvantage is that their output drops a lot faster than lead acid batteries when the temperature drops.

This means that if they are not properly charged they are more prone to having individual cell failures. They are also sensitive to high temperatures. Heat causes them to degrade a lot faster than they typically would. 

Another con which we touched on earlier is their price. They can cost up to $1,700 for one battery vs $150 for a top of the line lead acid battery.

You never ever want to completely discharge a lithium battery 100% because if that happens it will completely ruin the battery pack and you will have to replace it. 

Car Alternator

Your common vehicle does not come with an alternator that is designed to charge a lithium battery. This means that you will have to buy a battery that comes with a charge converter that takes the output from the alternator and converts it to use in the lithium battery.

Ready to Make the Switch to a Lithium Car Battery?

As you can see from the information above there are a ton of reasons why a lithium car battery is a smart move. Now it is time to do your research and find a lithium battery that you can use in your current vehicle or opt for a new vehicle that already comes with a lithium battery. 

Did you learn something new today thanks to our article? Please bookmark our cars section to never miss the latest!